2016-10-14 / Front Page

Board to mull KHS naming rights

By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK —When construction is complete on the $42.8 million renovation now underway at Kennebunk High School, the building may be going by a different name.

At its most recent business meeting, the RSU 21 Board of Education authorized creation of a naming committee.

“Do we like the name ‘Kennebunk High School’ considering that it contains students from all of our communities?” Superintendent Katie Hawes asked.

School board member Catherine Rush asked if that logic should be applied to the Middle School of the Kennebunks as well. However, Hawes said the middle school “is a little different.”

“When people talk about ‘the Kennebunks’ they talk about Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel,” she said.

“For me, this is about the renovation of the high school and the various parts of that that maybe attached to it,” said board vice chairman Maureen King, of Kennebunkport.

Along with the school itself, the committee might recommend naming rights for the auditoriums, gymnasiums, athletic fields, classrooms, and other rooms “that present potential opportunities for naming rights or plaques acknowledging the source of the funds for the construction or renovation of such facility.”

Any naming rights could be sold to commercial or corporate entities

According to the district’s existing policy on naming school facilities, “it is appropriate for the superintendent to discuss naming opportunities with prospective benefactors. However, no commitments or promises should be made naming a facility, nor should any formal or informal agreements be made with regard to specific dollar amounts needed for a naming opportunity except as authorized or approved in advance by the Board of School Directors.”

So far, the board has given no such guidance, only going so far as to create a naming committee.

The Sept. 18 vote to do so did not set a membership cap for the committee, or dictate which groups should be represented.

Hawes only said she would “reach out” to school board members, district staff and parents.

Anyone interested in serving on the naming committee should contact Hawes at khawes@rsu21.net.

While a business name could end up over the KHS doors, one other name has already been put on the table.

“I think this is a terrific idea quite frankly,” said school board member Jeff Cole, of Kennebunk. “It’s occurred to me over the past few months that maybe it’s time for some renaming. The district has been through a lot over the last several years and in that time we have lost one of our biggest advocates as well.”

With that, Cole suggested rebranding KHS as the Timothy B. Hussey Memorial High School.

The president and CEO of Hussey Seating Co. in North Berwick, Hussey passed away in June following a long battle with cancer. A former member of the RSU 21 school board, he chaired the facilities committee that initiated and guided the current renovation project.

According to district policy, “special requests to name buildings or other facilities in honor of people who have contributed in an extraordinary or significant way to the betterment of the district’s education program or alumni/community members who have distinguished themselves, will be considered first by the superintendent and then, with the superintendent’s recommendation, by the board.”

In either case, if a new name for KHS is chosen, whether it’s a commercial brand, a memorial recognition, something from a list created by district students when polled in 2009, or something else entirely, the school board will get the final vote.

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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